A large post by the Russian blogger “Murz” (repost by Strelkov here), describing the general situation on the Ukrainian front. In short:

  • The trained manpower is being wasted on useless front assaults on heavily defended positions and in urban fighting.
  • The newly mobilized are organized in “rifle” units, without armor (light or heavy), artillery. They don’t get any useful training for the modern battlefield, only most basic training for their personal and squad weapons. They lack much of the necessary equipment. They lack competent commanders. They are not even close to being ready for any modern warfare operations.
  • The ground forces lack communication equipment to allow effective command and control.
  • The artillery is being misused to the point of inoperability. The developing shortages in artillery brought the use of tank guns to be used for shelling enemy positions. This quickly degrades the limited resource of the old tanks. (The vast majority of tanks are of older generations.) The tanks also often lack the modern added armor protection such as “explosive-reactive armor” (ERA) modules, which makes them extremely vulnerable to the old anti-armor weapons such as vintage RPG-7 anti-tank grenade launcher.
  • The newly built defence lines are being constructed incompetently to the extend they won’t be of any real help. These lines are not equipped with communications, nor have any reserve units capable of supporting those lines. As a result, they are not much more than a pointless and wasteful endeavour.
  • Ground forces lack camouflage nets to mask the hardware during the winter, then there is no foliage. This will result in their easy detection by the enemy and consequent destruction.
  • The orders coming down from the military command are extremely incompetent, leading to large losses in valuable equipment. For example, at some point quadcopters which were used for reconnaissance were ordered to drop small caliber grenades on the enemy. Using electronic counter measures and other means, large portion of those drones were destroyed, leaving a gap in reconnaissance capabilities.
  • Deficiencies and shortages aren’t being reported in order to prevent “embarrassment” of the commanders and generals. Many useless attacks, resulting in heavy casualties are being conducted for commanders’ status and career gains.
  • In summary: the front is being degraded, the trained manpower and military hardware is pointlessly wasted.

On other news, the head of Russian Transneft reported that Poland and Germany requested new contracts for oil transfer via the Druzhba pipeline for the year 2023. This, after the “oil price cap” initiative. That he failed to say is whether Russia will decline such contracts. In the lack of explicit denial, it is possible Russia will find a way to continue to supply crude oil to the Europe. This suspicion is being reinforced by the lack (still) of government decision on how to respond to the oil price cap. Which isn’t surprising to the least, since Russia is avoiding any meaningful countermeasures (economic or otherwise) against the “unfriendly” countries.

UA is continuing using the supplied NASAMS medium-range sir-defence missile system to defend against Russian strikes. The debris of the AMRAAM AIM-120B air-to-air missiles was identified in the picture, coming supposedly from the Kiev region. Those are older modification of the AIM-120, nearing its service life. Previously I assumed these systems would be armed with newer C or D variants, which are quite expensive (about $1M for each missile), which will make them very hard to resupply. As it turns out, these are old B variant, which are intended to be decommissioned anyway, so they are practically free (plus the transportation fees, minus the utilization fees). If so, they could be supplied easily as long as there are stocks of those missiles in the West. It is also possible, the idea behind providing those specific systems was to utilize cheaply old missiles while also writing them as an expense (at any arbitrary cost per unit) and using the “Ukraine military support” funds to acquire new missiles instead outside of the usual defence budget. If so, bravo to the Pentagon. They definitely have an opportunity to relieve themselves of the old junk and purchase new systems instead, much like with the barely or actually unconditional old Stinger and Javelin missiles they supplied to the UA. As usual, USA is seeking to profit from a war (which is totally legitimate, even if morally repulsive, as far as I’m concerned).

The Rybar Telegram channel, which was so supportive of the Russian strike on electric transformers, promising the immanent collapse of the Ukrainian power infrastructure, now starts to have second thoughts. ~1000 (I’m taking the lower estimate) cruise missiles (including Iranian Shahked-136 and such) and ~3 months later, the Ukrainian power distribution network is still largely operational. The blackouts are local to some regions, cities or even city areas and mostly temporal. Only one electricity generation facility was directly hit so far (as far as I’m aware), and only by one missile. The 330/110KV and lower voltage transformers, then hit, are being repaired, replaced or rerouted. Now, forgetting its claims that each such transformer is a unique, almost handmade piece of equipment which is extremely difficult to replace, the Rybar channel is suggesting hitting control facilities, generators (e.g. boilers), high voltage switchgears nodes. Yet long after the extremely limited effect of such strikes became painfully obvious, the now explicitly intentionally ineffective strikes continue. A thousand missile strike has the potential of totally destroying Ukraine’s powerplants, thus bringing it to the medieval technological level for many years to come. This would have resulted in mass fleeing of its population to the EU, and a rapid decay of all infrastructures, including the ones directly or indirectly supporting the war efforts. Potentially ensuring the quick and much less bloody end of the war. Instead, Russian government is enabling the continuation of the war by “sparing” the UA and still supplying the EU with energy. The measures that are being taken are no more than an illusion, to the benefit of Russian public.

Feeling the pressure of public dismay, Russian government and MoD are starting to produce news content, imitating some kind of purposeful activities. The Shoigu’s Southern Military District inspection, the Rasputin’s war conference with military commanders, the Belarus visit, the strong public statements — all are intended to create an impression of some planning but have zero actual effect on the direction the war has taken. Ceasar was as genius military commander as Pompey, as extraordinary orator as Cicero, as blue-blooded noble as Marcus Crassus, and yet he was assassinated by his friend only because he tried to grab to the power more than he should have. It is long past the time Russian public will realize the Rasputin’s retirement is grossly overdue. Let him have fun with his female Olympic medalist athlete girlfriend, his fishing and hunting and his Swiss watches in the beautiful nature of pristine Siberia, far away from the Kremlin. It is long past the time to bring new, fresh blood into politics, to clean the othergrowth of corruption and incompetency that eating the country from the inside like a cancer, threatening to kill it if left untreated for too long.


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